Dec. 2, 2014: Bobby Keys dies of cirrhosis at age 70 at his home in Franklin, Tennessee, after recording and touring with the Stones for more than 40 years.
Keith Richards on Bobby: “I have lost the largest pal in the world and I can’t express the sense of sadness I feel, although Bobby would tell me to cheer up. My condolences to all that knew him and his love of music. He was the epitome of the rock & roll sax-playing man. He used to tell me about listening to Buddy Holly rehearse in his garage just down the road from his house. That’s one of the reasons he wanted to get into music. That’s pretty early rock & roll, so he was right in there at the very beginning. He was playing on the road by the time he was 15. He was a piece of history in himself, and had a deep knowledge of it…I think he must have turned on millions of people, even though a lot of them don’t know who he was. He’s one of those hidden geniuses, 10 feet from stardom and all of that.Bobby took everybody as they came. He wouldn’t be weary of people. He had a large heart. He told me, I got a heart as big as Texas and I said, Bobby, I think it’s a bit larger. He was just a barrel of laughs to be around. I very rarely saw him down, and if I did, it was usually about a young lady who dumped him or something. And he soon got over that, you know. He probably wouldn’t want us to be too solemn right now. Basically when it’s all said and done, I’m looking upon this now as a celebration of life rather than a memorial for his death. He’d like a big wake.It’s a sad thing, but not totally unexpected. I’ve been speaking to him for the last couple of weeks and he was still laughing, but he was getting weak. I just wanted to cheer him up. As Bob said, It’s time for the last roundup.”